Affiliate programs offer more money making opportunity than most other programs, including ad publishing. Though both are in a way related there is no apple-to-apple comparison possible here as the compensation method is totally different.
Affiliate marketing – How does it work?
Like in the case of ad marketing there are three parties here as well. The ‘vendor or merchant’ (e.g. DELL Computers) is the person who wants to sell his products via web-based marketing. He has the opportunity to place ads but that alone doesn’t fetch too many results. So he goes the affiliate way of marketing whereby he signs up with an ‘Affiliate Network’ (e.g. Commission Junction) who has in turn signed up hundreds of thousands of ‘Affiliates’ (that’s people like bloggers, website owners) all around the world. The affiliates display the vendor’s sale items on their pages. The type of products and services to be placed on these pages can be selected by the affiliates based on his geographic location, blog type etc. At the same time the advertisers has the opportunity to select his affiliates based on their marketability. So it is kind of a mutual consent mechanism for optimum sale opportunity. If a reader of the blog clicks on these sale ads and goes to the vendor site the information such as the affiliate network and affiliate involved is recorded. If that person (reader) ends up buying the particular product a portion of the sale proceeds or a fixed amount is given to the affiliate, that is you as a blogger!!!
Some affiliate networks (and even publishers who have newsletters, eBooks etc) also market via emails (email marketing) whereby the adlink to click would contain the affiliate information. (Affiliate marketing and email marketing are various business models of Internet marketing)
Why is it better?
Affiliate programs are better than ad programs as there is an opportunity to select the target audience, prospects etc based on locations, culture, sex, age group etc. Also the commission that comes out of a sale is huge, sometimes it is as high as 50% of the sales amount. Even if the sale doesn’t happen, some vendors pay affiliate for generating leads. The revenue sharing concept is transparent in the case of affiliate networks where as it is not that known in ad programs. Sometimes it is not commission based but a fixed amount per deal. In either case, the amount you are going to earn is usually known to you while browsing the available products, vendors, links etc at the network site.
As a publisher or affiliate you know exactly what you are going to display, which is not the case with many ad programs, especially the context based ads. This is one of the major advantages for you because you can select to display high paying or fast moving items.
How do I?
All that you need to do to be an affiliate is to sign up with one of the affiliate networks (A few are mentioned on this blog as well) providing your details. Once you signed up you can browse the network site to pick your advertisers, ads etc. Some advertisers automatically approve you as a publisher but some need to do it manually which might take couple of days. Once you get the products links, you can paste the respective code/script on your site and you are ready to sell for them and make money! As I mentioned earlier, some of them work via emails as well.
- As much as possible be specific on selecting the target audience and ads specific to that. If you select generic products and all locations you may not generate too many sales, leads or money
- Do not select to display too many products
- It is advisable to have one affiliate ad per page than displaying many. Even if you opt for more than one, let no more than one be animated
- Keep track of the leads/sales generated regularly by visiting the affiliate network site
- Use your website statistics on information such as geography of your readers, average time spent per page, most read pages etc to select ads for regions and displaying them on the popular pages
- Refer further affiliates or publishers to make more money as you get commission for even sales generated by your referrals
- If your friends are known to be going for certain shopping for which an affiliate link exist on your site, get him to buy it through that link